TSX recoups some of this week's decline as technology rallies

Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index rises to a record high

By Fergal Smith

(Reuters) -Canada's main stock index ended higher on Wednesday as technology shares rallied and the Bank of Canada kept interest rates on hold, with the market clawing back some of its decline from earlier in the week.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's S&P/TSX composite index rose 70.99 points, or 0.35%, to 20,346.53 after declines on in the first two days of the week.

"We had a couple of rough days to start the week and it looks like we've stabilized today," said Colin Cieszynski, chief market strategist at SIA Wealth Management.

Stocks fell sharply on Tuesday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell told U.S. lawmakers the Fed would likely need to raise interest rates more than expected. But in a second day of testimony to Congress on Wednesday, the policymaker did not commit to a widely expected 50 basis point rate hike in March.

Meanwhile, the BoC left its benchmark rate on hold at 4.50%, becoming the first major central bank to suspend its monetary tightening campaign in the face of an anticipated easing of high inflation.

"There were no surprises from the BoC," Stephen Brown, deputy chief North America economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note. "Despite the renewed hawkishness of central bankers elsewhere, we continue to judge that the bank's next move will be an interest rate cut."

The Toronto market's technology sector rose 2.4%, helped by a gain of 3.2% for e-commerce company Shopify Inc.

The materials group was also a bright spot, rising 0.5% as copper prices climbed.

Panama's government and First Quantum Minerals Ltd agreed on the final text for a contract to operate a key copper mine, according to a statement signed by both parties. First Quantum's shares were up 0.7%.

(Reporting by Fergal Smith; Additional reporting by Johann M Cherian in Bengaluru; Editing by Shilpi Majumdar and Alistair Bell)